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Libyan Foreign Minister Najla Mangoush (left) and Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen

Libyan Foreign Minister Fired After Meeting with Israel, Fleeing Country

Libyan Foreign Minister Najla Mangoush was fired on Monday, August 28, a Libyan government source told British media, after Foreign Minister Eli Cohen said Sunday that he had met her last week in Rome, even though the countries lack formal relations.

The initial suspension notice was signed by Prime Minister Abdulhamid al-Dbeibah, who heads Libya's Government of National Unity. According to media reports, Mangoush left Libya for Turkey early Monday morning.

Israel said the face-to-face conversation facilitated by Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani had been pre-arranged, lasted for over an hour, and included a discussion on cooperation in a wide array of arenas including agriculture and water technology.

The report of the meeting sparked anger on the Libyan streets, prompting protests, including against the Foreign Ministry building there.

Libya’s Foreign Ministry said Mangoush had refused a proposed meeting with Israeli representatives and that what had occurred was "an unprepared, casual encounter during a meeting at Italy's Foreign Affairs Ministry." The Foreign Ministry also issued a statement stressing its support for the Palestinians and affirming Jerusalem’s status as the capital of a Palestinian state.

Despite the statements by the Libyan government, two senior Libyan government officials told American media that al-Dbeibah knew about the talks between Mangoush and Cohen, and had given the green light for the meeting last month. (JPost / VFI News)

“Those who hate me without reason outnumber the hairs of my head; many are my enemies without cause, those who seek to destroy me. I am forced to restore what I did not steal.” - Psalm 69:4